The Tangible Impacts of Incivility

Incivility - rude or unsociable behavior - has measurable impacts on us. Learn how it impacts our culture of volunteerism.
Chris Williams Chris Williams
Leadership Development Manager
September 04, 2016

Incivility is rude or unsociable speech or behavior, like an impolite or offensive content. Experiencing or witnessing incivility in the behavior of others has measurable impacts on us. Using a variety of measurements, professors Christine Porath and Christine Pearson have learned the impacts of experiencing incivility:

  • 48% of people intentionally decrease their work effort.
  • 47% decreased the amount of time they spend at work.
  • 38% intentionally decrease the quality of their work.
  • 66% say that their performance declined.
  • 78% say that their commitment to an organization declined.
  • 25% admitted to taking their frustrations out on customers.

This applies all group dynamics in our trips and programs. Studies repeatedly show how a person's creativity suffers, performance and team spirit deteriorate, and "customers" turn away. Incivility has a huge impact on volunteerism, and even "observing rudeness could be the starting point to a spiral of aggression" in an organization's culture

In short, incivility can be extraordinarily toxic for an organization like The Mountaineers. An organization has to model civility, recruit for it, teach it, reward it, accept feedback about it, and appropriately penalize people when they don't exhibit it. We have a number of very passionately held opinions - but we must hold ourselves accountable to this collective group norm in order to advance our mission. Please read and learn about the subject to benefit the health of our community.

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